Parking Safety TipsFebruary 20, 2024 — Members continue to report issues related to the safety of parking lots while they travel to and from their State jobs.  

Karen Tully, a senior attorney for the State Department, was violently attacked in 2019 while returning to her car in the Elk Street Parking lot in Albany. The lot is owned by the Office of General Services (OGS).  

“We as state employees, we pay to park in these lots,” Tully said. “The lots are open for the public to walk through. Nobody checks for IDs. It’s just not safe.” 

Tully often works overtime as part of her work. She says that the solutions offered by OGS and other state agencies on how to stay safe weren’t enough. 

“There isn’t always someone you can walk with. You can sit there and talk about all those safety things—and it’s the same thing OGS said—to walk with somebody, or if you see something strange, don’t go forward,” She said. “But this guy who attacked me, he didn’t look strange.” 

During the Joint PEF/State Health and Safety Conference in December 2023, the Article 19 Parking Lot Committee and the Article 18 Health and Safety Committee worked together on a workshop to provide members, like Tully, who park in downtown Albany, best practices on how to stay safe in parking lots. These tips, as well as other initiatives are part of a Parking Lot Safety Pilot Program for Region 8 members, but they apply to all members across the state. 

The committees want to empower members by reminding them of simple tips, like keep an eye on everyone in the parking lot—even those who may not seem like a threat, don’t wear headphones, and keep valuable out of sight and have your keys always ready. 

Additionally, whenever possible, PEF recommends walking with a co-worker, or to inform a co-worker, friends, or family if there are unsafe conditions or any feelings of unsafety.  

The Parking Lot Safety Pilot Program is developing other tips and items that PEF members can use to help navigate parking lots, including a small flashlight that can be easily attached to keys or bags for ease of use. 

If an incident occurs, remember to report it as soon as possible to agency management, PEF Health and Safety ( and parking facility management. PEF’s Parking Committee should also be notified via email at  

New York winters can be tough, so when sidewalks and walkways become icy, be sure to wear suitable footwear. Finally, as with any emergency, members should always know where their phone is and dial 911 if necessary.